Bill Cadwallader - a Cornell Vet School graduate and former District Governor spoke at the June 3 meeting about Rotary's efforts to reduce Child and Maternal mortality.

Bill  distributed materials like the "Fragile Earth" newsletter and a brochure indicating a number of project proposals for Rotary Clubs and Districts to reduce Child and Maternal Mortality.


He spoke about the rate of child and maternal mortality throughout the world and some of the Rotary programs that have been established to help reduce these rates.  He worked in Mexico in 1965-67 with the American Friend Service Committee. There he and his wife became part of the community. They befriended a woman who, at age 38, had had 12 complete pregnancies and 9 living children. She said that she feared that having another child would end her life and leave her children motherless.  This experience motivated Bill to action when RI President  D.K. Lee announced his worldwide goal to reduce infant mortality.


Statistics worldwide: 27,000 children under age 5 die per day. India - more than 2 million per year; China - 750,000 per year. But the largest PERCENTAGE of the population is lost in African nations. 90% of all infant mortality occurs in 42 nations worldwide.


Bill added that there is a DIRECT relationship between 1) the index of the infant mortality; 2) the index of maternal mortality; and 3) the number of children per mother.


The Index of Infant Mortality has diminished since the 1960s. In 1960, the worldwide average was 175 deaths per 1,000 births. In 2000, the average dropped to 75 deaths per 1,000 births. Since the 1960s, availability of birth control pills in developing nations has allowed mothers to control the frequency of births and improve their own health, thereby reducing the number of infant and maternal deaths.


What can Rotarians do?

  1. Offer voluntary counseling and testing to detect HIV infections in pregnant mothers before they give birth. Prevention, control, and treatment of HIV infections early will allow for longer, more productive lives among all members of the community.
  2. Provide education and nutrition so that mothers are in good health when they become pregnant to provide sufficient milk at the time of birth.
  3. Continue efforts to prevent deafness and cleft palate.
  4. Prevent malaria by providing nets impregnated with insecticides.